Kara Winger voted by USA athletes to represent them and the country
Shocked. Stunned. Surprised.
“This cannot be real life,” Kara Winger said in an Instagram post from Japan. “It’s a dream I didn’t know to dream.”
Recognition. Regard. Respect.
Kara Winger, a four-time Olympian who grew up in Vancouver, graduating from Skyview High School, will carry the United States flag in the closing ceremony in Tokyo on Sunday. The javelin thrower was named the flag bearer after a vote of Team USA athletes.
“I’m pretty good with words, but my appreciation for this overwhelming honor might be beyond description,” she wrote.
Track and field, she noted, transformed her worldview early in her journey.
“Traveling the world for this simple and awesome sport we do has exposed me to countless cultures, allowed me to form priceless relationships with competitors from other countries, too, and showed me time and time again that athletics is about so much more than athletics.”
Winger won three state championships for Skyview High School as Kara Patterson, graduating in 2004. She moved on to Purdue University. Since then, she has competed in four Olympics (2008, 2012, 2016, and these 2020 Games in 2021.)
Winger noted in her social media post that she has never made a final in the Olympics, let alone earned a medal. But she wanted to take the time to shout from the rooftops one of her favorite quotes, from Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games.
“The important thing in the Olympics is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
She is proud to represent all Olympians. Every athlete has endured, has had to overcome challenges. This year, in particular, is special after the postponement of the Games last year.
“We all freaking made it here,” she wrote.
Personally, Winger had to rehabilitate a knee after tearing a ligament last summer.
“I’m still crazy proud to be wearing this uniform again at all,” she said.
The closing ceremonies will begin at 4 a.m. Pacific time Sunday. NBC television will air the closing ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Winger had previously told Clark County Today that this would be her final Olympics. The goal was to compete in Tokyo in 2020, then compete one more year in order to compete in the World Championships, which were scheduled to be held in Eugene in 2021. The pandemic pushed everything back a year.